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Bali Gay Travel

wolfyy’s Bali gay travel guide to hotels & where to stay, things to do, gay bars, & beaches.

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The Gay Travel Experience: Bali, Indonesia

Impressive tranquility, famous countryside attractions, and an accepting culture are just a few reasons why gay travelers love Bali. It’s easy to see why this tropical paradise is a hugely popular winter gay travel destination. Bali is heaven on Earth!

Bali gay travel

Gay life in Bali is more prevalent than anywhere else in Indonesia. But why? Well, it has to do with the local religion. The people of this whimsical Southeast Asian island practice Hinduism, so gay life here fares much better.

Bali gay massage
Bali gay travel
Bali gay massage

Locals specifically practice Balinese Hinduism, called Agama Hindu Dharma. The iconic charming religious offerings these people place on the streets and in their homes are beyond beautiful.

Bali gay friendly hotel

Bali has experienced explosive tourism over the past decade and it is no longer an island known to few. For context, Bali is building a brand-new airport to cope with the intense traffic around Denpasar.

Knowing this, you should tread carefully to avoid tourist traps and use this guide to explore the best of Bali.

Bali gay travel guide
Bali gay
Bali gay travel guide

You can still visit authentic attractions in Bali. In this gay guide I’ll cover where you should stay, lesser-known places to visit and some must-see attractions that LGBT tourists love.

Bali gay

Gay Bali: Hotels & Where to Stay

Before choosing a place to stay in Bali, remember that you will arrive at Denpasar Airport toward the south of the island. The majority of tourism concentrates here.

Bali gay hotel

Below I’ll cover where to stay in south Bali, followed by central and northern Bali hotels. Each of these areas has a completely different vibe.

Where to Stay in South Bali

The areas of Jimbaran, Kuta, and Uluwatu are three of the larger districts in southern Bali where many gay travelers choose a place to stay.

Four Seasons Hotel Jimbaran
Bali gay hotel
Four Seasons Hotel Jimbaran

Hotels in Jimbaran are my top recommendation for south Bali. The Jimbaran area is quieter and comprised mainly of resorts. Beaches are much more tranquil compared to Kuta to the north.

The Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay was without a doubt one of the most magical hotels I have ever experienced. I stayed a few nights at the Four Seasons while in south Bali.

Four Seasons Hotel Jimbaran

They have every single detail perfected for their guests. It made for quite a majestic setting for me my boyfriend Michael on our first vacation as a couple.

Downtown Kuta hotels are popular with budget travelers. This area has some of the cheapest hotels in Bali. I stayed in Kuta for a few days while exploring the southern part of the island.

downtown Kuta area in Bali
luxury resorts in Uluwatu
Four Seasons Hotel Jimbaran

I must warn you though-Kuta is a tourist center and it is not so authentic. It takes a lot for me to dislike an area, but walking around Kuta was incredibly frustrating.

Constantly bombarded by men asking if I wanted to rent a motorbike or get a massage, I found myself avoiding the town center at all costs.

luxury resorts in Uluwatu

I recommend skipping Kuta unless you’re really looking for affordability. Gay travelers in Bali will be much happier choosing the luxurious hotels in Jimbaran Bay or the impressive seaside resorts in Uluwatu.

Guesthouses & Resorts in North/Central Bali

Ubud is a fantastic and hugely popular place to stay in central Bali. You can find relative seclusion here, with the convenience of a vibrant central town.

Bali gay hotel

I stayed at an adorable guest house in Ubud. While the exact place isn’t available anymore, similar accommodations in the area are super affordable and only a five-minute walk to the town’s main road.

Bali gay hotel
bali gay guesthouse

If I had more time, I would have spent it further north on the island. I’d definitely book one of those jaw-dropping retreats in Kubutambahan that completely integrate with the natural surroundings.

bali gay guesthouse

Kubutambahan vacation rentals are another fantastic options to find beautiful and authentic Balinese accommodations in the north of the island.

Given north Bali is harder to get to, it is far less traveled, perfect for an authentic and serene place to stay.

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Bali Gay Travel Experiences

Explore Local Temples

Visit one of the larger temples near you in the early evening if you happen to be in Bali during a full moon or new moon.

You’ll experience some large local celebrations during which women dress up in even more gorgeous traditional Balinese outfits. Cheerful locals flood the streets!

balinese statue near temple
balinese statue near temple
Bali gay tourist

Cruise Around On A Motorbike

I absolutely loved hopping on a motorbike and driving as much of Bali as I could.

This is a super cute idea for gay couples in Bali. Grab your lover and take in the views of a scenic drive. The farther north you go, the more romantic it will be.

Bali gay tourist

Eat at Dewi Sri Food Center

Head to Dewi Sri Food Center for cheap, tasty local food! This place is filled with locals each evening. Try some pork belly, Chicken Satay, and other Southeast Asian mainstays.

Jimbaran bay private boat

Awesome Bali Beaches (& Which to Avoid)

Jimbaran Bay is the go-to spot for beachgoers in south Bali. Full transparency: the water is not blue! Although there’s nothing wrong with the beaches here in the least, I would not say that Bali tops the list of best beach destinations.

bali gay traveler
bali gay traveler
Jimbaran bay private boat

Gay travelers will be much happier making good use of a private pool in their hotel or resort. This is what we’re all yearning for, right? Get one of those floating breakfast trays and treat yourself like a queen!

Bali gay travel experience

Avoid Kuta Beach at all costs. I truly wonder why tourists come here. It is filled with trash and aggressive children trying to sell bracelets.

Instead, go to Pantai Plix, a spot where the locals hang! About 30 minutes south of Kuta, you can enjoy this small cliff with a serene view.

best beach in Bali
best beach in Bali
Bali gay travel experience

Pantai Plix is not swimmable because waves crash along a rock formation. However, the algae and ponds of water in the sand are very cool! Although it’s a little gritty and treacherous, it’s definitely an authentic experience. 

gay Ubud

Tegalalang Rice Terrace (Ubud)

Bali rice terraces are a staple of touring the island. I loved visiting Tegalalang Rice Terrace, a 20-minute drive north of the Ubud town center. Stunning can’t even describe this place, which is probably why everyone makes a point to visit.

Ubud Bali gay travel
restaurant in Ubud
gay Ubud

Take A Coffee Break at Namaskara

I quickly became a regular at Namaskara Coffee, an absolutely adorable café in Central Ubud. They have authentic Balinese food, fast wi-fi, and stellar cappuccinos. Definitely order the red sticky rice in hot coconut milk with mango & banana. I got it three days in a row!

restaurant in Ubud

Browse Handcrafted Furniture

Central Bali is home to hundreds of wood carving and handcrafted-furniture shops. Balinese wood carving goes back many centuries, too. It’s a huge tradition in the Ubud region. There’s no better memento for a gay couple than a handcrafted piece from Ubud!

rice terraces in Ubud
Ubud Bali gay travel
rice terraces in Ubud

Go Shopping in Ubud

There are many boutique shops in Central Ubud selling high-quality clothing and often decorative home items. I grabbed some awesome shorts from Lost In Paradise.

Bali Gay Bars

Local Bali gay bars are clustered together on a street called Jalan Camplung Tanduk in Seminyak, the heart of Bali’s gay nightlife scene. This area of the island is a bit north of downtown Kuta. 

Since all three of the gay bars are literally next to one another, it’ll be easy to try them all!

Bali Joe is the most popular gay bar in Bali. Expect fun drag and cabaret performances.

Mixwell Bar Bali has a colorful interior and also hosts many show nights.

Lastly, F Bar is a little more intimate, with most patrons arriving after midnight!

Bintang beer

I personally didn’t visit the Bali gay bars since there was such heavy rain every night (I visited during the wet season). If you try any of them, send me an email noting how they were!

I do know, however, that the gay bars in Bali are not always the most popular with tourists. If you’re headed to one, I’d expect you encounter mostly locals.

Bali Gay Travel Tips

Pack Your Tropical Vacation Essentials

Before you head off to paradise, check wolfyy’s useful list of what to pack for tropical destinations. You’ll find my favorite waterproof gear, lightweight clothing ideas, rain gear, and tons more.

Can LGBT Couples Share Hotel Beds in Bali?

Sharing a bed in a single room should be no problem for gay couples in Bali. Many resorts, especially western hotels, will recognize and accommodate you as they would anyone else.

hindu temple festival in bali
gay Bali
hindu temple festival in bali

You Need Cash in Bali

Bali is predominantly a cash-only society (at least as of 2018 when I visited). I actually learned this the hard way after losing my debit card. Especially while in Ubud and the north of the island, make sure you have enough cash handy and ideally carry a backup debit card.

gay Bali

When to Visit Bali

I visited Bali during the rainy season and I still loved it! The wet season in Bali is from October to April. The rest of the months are relatively dry. Even during the wet season, there are still some clear days.

Bali gay traveler
Bali gay traveler
Bali gay travel

My favorite thing about the Bali rainy season was the nightly thunderstorms. I fell asleep to calming thunder every single night. If you are short on time, it’s probably best to visit during the dry season, as some days can be too rainy for long bouts of exploring.

gay traveler visiting Bali

If you can afford to spend more time in Bali, the rainy season is perfectly fine. Mornings in the rainy season are pretty much always rain-free. After sunset, rain is common.

kuta neighborhood

Buy a durable rain-proof poncho before your trip. This will definitely come in handy. Locals carry these everywhere and o many tourists get caught without them!

kuta neighborhood
gay traveler visiting Bali

Local Religious Offerings

Locals create precious offerings called Canang sari every day to show gratitude. Without a doubt, you will see them everywhere around Bali.

hindu offerings bali local culture

They are commonly filled with flowers, rice, fruit, and sometimes coins. People typically place them three times a day! Ask a taxi driver about how they make them. It’s a great conversation starter!

hindu offerings bali local culture
bali airport

Using Taxis in Bali

When getting a taxi at the airport, use the curbside registered local taxi stand. They will give you the cheapest price. The storefront inside the airport will charge you triple the fair price and the local guys standing by the exit will charge you at least double.

bali airport

Just for reference, a ride from Jimbaran/Denpasar to Ubud cost me 300,000 Rupiah (in 2018) and it is about an hour and 30-minute drive, depending on traffic. A ride from the airport to Jimbaran should be 150,000.

Indonesia Gay Life

Broadly, Indonesia is a difficult country for LGBT people to live in, and the situation is only getting worse. Although there are no specific laws against same-sex sexual relations in the majority of the country, the government is actively attempting to criminalize it.

bali gay life

There are no protections in place for the gay community in Indonesia and coming out as gay presents personal social challenges for many individuals.

Bali gay travel
danger traveling to Indonesia

The Aceh and Palembang local governments specifically criminalize homosexuality, as they operate under stricter local Islamic law.

These areas of Indonesia are becoming increasingly harsh as they pass laws that criminalize the LGBT community. Local Islamic organizations seek out and prosecute any homosexual activity.

danger traveling to Indonesia

Indonesian cities such as Jakarta experience numerous raids on places where gay individuals are thought to congregate. Dozens were detained in 2020 in a raid of a Jakarta gay party. Many LGBT citizens face arrests and harsh punishments for being themselves.

Bali gay travel

Human rights organizations rightly denounced the many atrocities involving LGBT citizens that have taken place in Indonesia over recent years.

Balinese culture
bali gay life

Bali specifically is not anti-gay. As mentioned at the beginning of this guide, people here have much more liberal beliefs, stemming from their Balinese-Hindu practices.

Balinese culture

Although the Indonesian government still does not provide any specific discrimination protections, the gay community is well-tolerated in Bali.

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Planning travel to other Southeast Asian destinations? Read the wolfyy gay travel guides to Saigon, Vietnam and Phuket, Thailand.

See wolfyy’s travel resources page for booking discounts and recommended partner sites.


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